Nobody wants to raise a spoiled youngster. But striking a balance between love and over-indulgence can be hard. There are no scientific facts about spoiled kids …no hard facts detailing the subject. However, there are plenty of moms and dads who worry about over-indulging their children, and plenty of professionals who have opinions on the matter.
My definition of a spoiled youngster is one with a sense of entitlement (e.g., "I deserve whatever I want – and I shouldn’t have to work for it”) who has a parent that is over-protective and all-giving (e.g., “Telling my child ‘no’ may damage our relationship”).
What does "over-protective" have to do with spoiled?
Well… over-protective moms and dads don't want their youngster to fail; therefore, they do everything in their power to make sure this doesn't happen. But at a certain point, these moms and dads are no longer doing their youngster a favor. The youngster becomes accustomed to having things done for him/her, and assumes that everyone will work for his/her success – and that's just not true!
How To Stop Spoiling Your Children—
1. "No" is not a bad word: In other words, you're not hurting your child by saying “no.” In many cases, you may be helping him. Your youngster does not have to love you every minute of every day. He'll get over the disappointment of having been told "no" – but he won't get over the effects of being spoiled.
2. Avoid comparisons: Setting limits and saying "no" becomes even harder when moms and dads of your youngster's friends are saying “yes.” Stand firm by your decisions. Your son may complain that all of his friends have an X Box and nobody will want to come over unless he gets one, too. I suggest telling your youngster to enjoy playing the video game at friends' homes and finding something unique to do at his own home. Your son has qualities and possessions that attract his friends, and they will still want to come over. He should be proud of these things, not embarrassed or upset by what he doesn't have.
3. Avoid materialism: If your parent-child relationship is based on material goods, your youngster won't have the chance to experience unconditional love.
4. Be a good role model: We're not the only influence in our children' lives, so we better be the best influence.
5. Don't let your guilt get in the way of your parenting: Your job as a parent is not to make yourself feel good by giving the youngster everything that makes you feel good when you give it. Your job as a parent is to prepare your youngster to succeed in school and in life. Children have to be socialized in a way that they understand “you work hard for what you get.” You don't want to teach your youngster that they will get everything through manipulation, pouting, crying, door slamming and guilt induction.
6. Make sure your youngster understands the value of hard work: One mother always told her daughters, “If you make Cs, you're going to have a C standard of living. If you make Bs, you're going to have a B standard of living. If you make As, you're going to have an A standard of living.” Help your youngster set goals. Teach her that striving to own nice things is fine if she understands how much hard work it takes to afford that, and then doesn't base her self-worth around what she buys.
7. Make sure your kids aren't defining their happiness and their status in the world as a function of what they wear or drive: Sit down with them and have a one-on-one conversation about what really defines their worth, their intelligence, their creativity, their caring, their giving, their work ethic, etc.
8. Money is not the problem: Money has nothing to do with spoiling a youngster. Even kids from low-income families can wind up spoiled. If you are on the phone with your husband, even if you're just talking about dinner plans, and your 7-year-old keeps wanting to talk to you, wants to interrupt and thinks that's OK ... he's spoiled. The youngster assumes you are going to drop everything and pay total attention to him. You have indulged this behavior in the past, and now the youngster expects it all the time. Kids are going to ask for things, and moms and dads are going to want to say “yes.” They simply enjoy giving things to - and doing things for - their children. It's like a high, an honor, a joy. But think about it this way: you don't need all the sugar you want ... so why does your youngster?
9. Prepare your youngster for reality: Your primary job as a parent is to prepare your youngster for how the world really works. In the real world, you don't always get what you want. You will be better able to deal with that as a grown-up if you've experienced it as a youngster.
10. Redefine what taking care of your kids really means: Are you providing for them emotionally and spiritually? You need not buy them material goods in order to create a bond. Instead of tangible gifts, how about spending some time together? Be careful that you aren't teaching them that emotions can be healed by a trip to the mall.
11. Set limits and stick by them: It's tiring and tedious and just not fun, but moms and dads must decide what they are willing to give their kids in terms of material goods and attention, and then stand by this decision. Once you take a stand, recognize that your youngster will try to manipulate you. He'll give lots of logical reasons why he needs to have something. But stick with your decision! So if you do buy your youngster a toy after telling him you wouldn't, you can be sure he will persistently badger you the next time you say "no." He now knows that if he's persistent, he can break down your resolve.
12. Stand firm: Of course, this single act is not going to magically change your youngster. You must consistently tell your youngster when you think she is acting spoiled. Explain why you think this and why it's important to compromise or share. Most importantly, begin setting limits and standing by them.
13. Teach charity: For instance, if you believe you've bought too many toys for your youngster, tell him so. Go on to explain that he does not play with all of them and is no longer putting them away or taking care of them. Allow him to choose a few favorite items, and then give the rest away to charity. This will teach him about giving to others while learning to value what he has.
14. Think of the future: Remember that this change won't be easy, but it is important. If you continue to spoil your kids, they will get to the point where they are not satisfied by anything!!! They will never feel gratified. When you decide to stop spoiling your youngster, it doesn't mean you can no longer buy her designer clothes or nice things – just cut back. Buy one pair of designer jeans, not twelve.
15. Understand "intrinsic" versus "extrinsic" motivation: Intrinsic motivation is when people do things because they feel proud of themselves when they do it. They feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Extrinsic motivation is when someone does something because of external motivation (e.g., they will receive money, a toy or privilege if they do the task). If you are always rewarding your youngster with material things, he will never learn how to motivate himself with internal rewards like pride. He also will never learn to value things, because there are so many things - and nothing is special.
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